Nottinghamshire Police's reporting of burglary questioned

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Media captionNottinghamshire Police said their reporting of crime was "totally accurate"

Police watchdogs have raised concerns about possible under-reporting of burglaries by Nottinghamshire Police.

The force was asked to look at all crimes that were initially logged as burglaries but later downgraded between April and September 2011.

The October report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary also said there "was a culture of not recording crimes at the earliest opportunity".

Deptuy Chief Constable Chris Eyre said crime data was checked for accuracy.

He also said the requested review had been completed and sent to the watchdog.

The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report also said the force's City Division lacked a "consistent approach to crime record creation and classification".

'Not massaging figures'

Mr Eyre said the report also praised the force for its "incredibly tight audit and control regimes".

Nottinghamshire's Assistant Chief Constable Ian Ackerley had already rejected claims by a former area commander earlier in December that crimes in the county were being downgraded.

Former area commander Dave Shardlow, recently forced to retire from the force as part of Nottinghamshire's plan to save £46m by 2015, said a senior colleague had told him these pressures had led to changes in how crime was recorded.

He said: "Clearly there are different categories of crime, so for example if you wish to report a burglary to a shed in the back garden, it is very easy to try to say 'that is not an attempted burglary, that is criminal damage'.

"That would lessen the impact of the crime in terms of national crime statistics."

Mr Ackerley said: "The style and tone (of policing) in Nottinghamshire is that we record crime properly, we are subject to independent scrutiny and we are determined to make people safe, not massage or fiddle the figures," he said.

The force has recorded high crime figures in the past few years, but recently has seen dramatic falls with the latest Home Office statistics recording a 19% cut in burglaries.

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